U.S.A. v. Reznicek (Amicus)

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

November 12, 2021

Current Status 

Reznicek's appeal is pending in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals


Dean Sudha Setty, Western New England University School of Law

Case Description 

In June 2021, due to a "terrorism enhancement" that the judge imposed at the prosecution's request, Jessica Reznicek was sentenced to eight years in federal prison. Jessica pleaded guilty to a single count of damaging an energy facility for her role in civil disobedience and vandalism against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Four years earlier, in July 2017, prior to being charged, Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya took responsibility for the vandalism and said, “We are speaking publicly to empower others to act boldly, with purity of heart, to dismantle the infrastructures which deny us our rights to water, land, and liberty.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights, along with Dean Suddha Setty – a national security expert – submitted an amicus brief supporting Reznicek’s appeal of her sentence. The brief explores the international and domestic uses of the term “terrorism,” its murky and constitutionally problematic definitions in the United States, and why the misuse of the terrorism enhancement in Reznicek’s sentencing is not only unjust but dangerous for all activists.
This filing is part of the Center for Constitutional Rights' ongoing efforts to support victims of U.S. government overreach in the name of fighting terrorism, as well as the organization's support for activists facing corporate-backed “lawfare” and other threats to the First Amendment.

Case Timeline

November 12, 2021
Amicus brief filed with Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals